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What Did People Do Before AC?


What would you do without the sweet draft from your air conditioner? Would you stay all day indoors? Use the cold setting in your shower? None of it sounds like much fun, but it might be the only option if your AC breaks down on you in the middle of the summer. Of course, you should call Willard immediately if that happens.

On the other hand, there was a time before our unnaturally cool yet decadently pleasant air machines. Some of the innovations homeowners used back then to work around the heat may be obvious but also may surprise you. Read on for ideas you can implement if you ever find yourself without air conditioning for a lifetime.

Home Design

Homes today are made of thin materials that allow the temperature in each space to be efficiently controlled. Large picture windows would seem to defeat the purpose of AC in North Texas, but even window technology has caught up to efficiency standards.

If you’ve done enough site-seeing, you might have noticed some common characteristics of pre-AC homes. For starters, many were made out of large stone blocks or other thick materials, which effectively insulated the interior spaces. In fact, stone walls absorb heat. Walking through an old stone church or castle, you’ll notice a cooling effect from the material.

Additionally, many southern homes were built with high ceilings, so the hot air would rise, keeping members of the household on the cooler side.

Outdoor Comfort

Aside from the health and landscape benefits trees continually offer, they’re great for shade. Air conditioning was invented in 1902, and even then, it was afforded mainly by large companies. Homes navigated the searing heat by planting trees on the east and west sides of their homes. As the sun rose and set, the trees would be another barrier for homes.

When sitting out on your porch was a pastime, trees also blocked gusts of wind during colder weather. The open air was much more inviting back then, even if it was still hot and humid. Screen porches were used for sleeping during the hot season. Those that lived in apartments chose the fire escape as their nighttime refuge occasionally.

I think we can all appreciate the comfort our AC systems bring us today, which provides another reason why homeowners should maintain their air conditioners. As far as our weather goes, there’s never a good time for your AC to give out on you. Give Willard a call today for professional maintenance or repair services for your system.

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